With Europe 2020, a comprehensive strategy has been put forward to foster smart, inclusive and sustainable growth in Europe and to provide a framework for the European Union to emerge strengthened from the current financial and economic crisis. Innovation has been placed at the heart of the 2020 strategy as Europe's competitiveness and capacity to create new jobs depends on driving innovation in products and services. It is also the best means of successfully tackling major societal challenges, such as climate change and energy efficiency.
The Innovation Union announced European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs) which are designed to mobilise actors across the innovation cycle and across sectors around an overarching target in order to speed up innovative solutions to societal challenges, including major energy and transport challenges in cities and communities.
Smart urban technologies can provide an important contribution to the sustainable development of European cities. 68% of the EU population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is growing as the urbanisation trend continues in Europe and worldwide.